Building Reputation in Constitutional Courts: Party and Judicial Politics
38 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2011 Last revised: 14 Jul 2011
Date Written: February 1, 2011
This paper explains how specialized constitutional courts navigate between the demands of two different external audiences, the political and the judicial. The political audience expects constitutional court judges to respond to political pressures and to vote ideologically. Such voting, however, might undermine the constitutional court’s ability to influence the judicial audience, which necessarily views cases as apolitical in character. We argue that the need to achieve supremacy over other higher courts constrains the ability of constitutional judges to pursue ideological goals. We examine patterns of consensus and fragmentation to demonstrate our proposition. We find empirical evidence that the existence of conflict between supreme and constitutional courts is positively related to the stability of court majorities.
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